Trumbull eyes combination of services

WARREN – Now, it’s just a request for $60,000 to study the services provided by the county’s Engineer’s and Sanitary Engineer’s offices and vehicle maintenance department, but it could become the vehicle used to drive the combination of at least some of the services offered by the three.

”It’s a means of trying to save money for the county,” said Commissioner Frank Fuda shortly after Monday’s meeting where he and Commissioners Dan Polivka and Paul Heltzel agreed to ask the state for the money to fund the analysis.

”This is the new trend, combining services,” Fuda said.

If the Local Government Innovation Fund comes through for Trumbull County, the study will look at the operations, equipment, personnel and facilities and determine where at least some of the services could be combined or shared.

The funding would pay for much of the $60,000 study, leaving a small portion – 10 percent – that would be split equally between commissioners and the engineer’s office.

Applications are due to Ohio’s Development Services Agency by March 4.

”I know there are other examples out there, but we have are own specific set of parameters that apply to Trumbull County, and I think it’s a prudent course of action to have a study completed that shows whether it will be a benefit to the county or not,” said Engineer Randy Smith.

Heltzel said if their effort to secure the grant is unsuccessful, the county would still pursue the study, but ”it’s just a lot better to have a comprehensive study done then to have us do this,” he said.

Two projects in Trumbull County already have been awarded some money from the Innovation Fund.

The engineer’s office secured a $500,000 no-interest loan award to build a central salt storage facility at the office’s North River Road N.W. building. Bid acceptance on the project was announced last week, and it’s expected the facility will be built by June.

The other was a $27,000 grant to explore the possibility of combining police forces with Hubbard city and Brookfield.

The Innovation Fund offers communities financial help to create more efficient and effective services. Up to $100,000 can be awarded in grant funds per feasibility study, up to $100,000 in loan assistance per entity for demonstration projects, and up to $500,000 in loan assistance for collaborative demonstration projects.